In my experience as a Divorce Specialist Agent, there are a handful of key tips and lessons I have learnt in how to best deal with divorce sale scenarios. There is no easy way to handle a sale due to separation, but there are a few methods you can use to hopefully help make it a little less difficult.
Get it in Writing
One of the most difficult parts of dealing with Divorce is making sure there is clear communication between the separating parties – especially when Real Estate is involved. It can be such an emotional and complicated experience, information can be easily miscommunicated or misunderstood. One of the best solutions for this is to get it in writing. This ensures all important information is shared, and can be revisited later on. This is especially easy if both parties communicate through e-mail, as it makes sure there is always a written record. For verbal and face-to-face meetings, its best to keep a log and write down everything exactly as you remember it. Having records is important, particularly in the unfortunate event that you may be called to prove what you did or did not communicate.
Patience is a Necessity
Patience is essential when communicating, but doubly so in a Divorce Sale scenario. Jumping to conclusions or not taking the time to read and listen correctly can be potentially detrimental to negotiations. Real Estate practitioners are used to assessing the situation, getting the home ready, and starting the process of selling in quick order. But in a divorce situation, getting approval on almost anything requires that you take more time to ensure all paperwork and financing approvals are in order, and the proper negotiations are taking place. This can be a difficult process and a true test of patience, especially when the separation between yourself and your partner is particularly disagreeable.
Be Prepared to Listen
Listening to my clients is key. I allow clients to talk for as long as they need to, especially when dealing with a more complicated divorce sale. These situations can be very emotional, and even more so when there is a hitch in the process. When this happens, I listen. Then I repeat what they’ve said and add, “This is what I heard. Is that correct?” Quite often, when they hear their own words repeated, the entire situation calms down, and the conversation can proceed. What this does is it places the client back in control of their situation. They feel like they have someone who is actually listening to their concerns, and is helping them understand the situation, and is helping to find them a solution.
Follow Up, and Then Follow Up Again
The more clients know about what’s happening with their sale, the calmer they remain. Keeping the couple updated on everything that happens as it’s happening is essential. There is enough instability and unknowns for them to handle without the status of their real estate being one of them. Constant communication should be maintained up to the point they tell you to slow down. Make the choice for reduced communication their decision. They must feel confident in the sale and in your care as their agent that things will work out as planned.
Don’t Become Emotionally Involved
This is one of the most important lessons I have learned as a Divorce Specialist. You cannot take your clients relationship problems on yourself. Make sure you focus solely on getting all the parties to the closing table. If you feel like you can’t resist getting personally involved, consider referring the work to another sales associate. This is critical because if the house is handled incorrectly during divorce, one or both spouses may be ineligible to qualify for a mortgage, and thus unable to refinance the marital joint mortgage or buy a house with new loan origination for years. A real estate professional experienced in divorce sales should provide their clients with step-by-step guidance to protect themselves legally and financially. My experience has come from years of dealing with divorced and separating clients, and helping them to find solutions to not only their separations, but also helping set the foundations for them to rebuild their lives thereafter.